dr.ing. R.E. Wendrich (Robert)

About Me

Dr Robert Wendrich is an assistant professor and researcher in the Design, Production and Management Department (DPM) from the Engineering Technology (ET) faculty within the University of Twente. His main research (PhD 2016) focuses on human / robot-machine interaction, idea development, conceptual design, product development processes and design tools. He is the founder of Rawshaping Technology (RST) a research laboratory (2008) in which hybrid (XR / VR / AR / MR) computer-driven interactive design tools are designed, tested and developed. As a researcher and scientist, with considerable industrial experience, he has numerous products, systems, hybrid and virtual environments analyzed, researched and developed. Dr. Wendrich contributed more than fifty international publications, several book chapters and deployed successful commercialization of products and systems. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Design Society (DS), and special interest groups (SIGs) such as; EuroVR VETE SIG, Emotional Engineering SIG and biom * SIG. His knowledge and expertise are currently focused on the domain of cyber-physical systems, gamification and spontaneous creativity development for hybrid computer-controlled applications. Over the years he has received several national and international design awards and institutional education awards.





Engineering & Materials Science
Computer Aided Design
Cyber Physical System
Decision Making
Human Computer Interaction
Mixed Reality
User Experience
User Interfaces
Virtual Reality


Hybrid Design Tools; Representation; Computational Synthesis.

Non-linear, non-explicit, non-standard thinking and ambiguity in design tools has a great impact on enhancement of creativity during ideation and conceptualization. Tacit-tangible representation based on a mere idiosyncratic and individual approach combined with computational assistance allows the user to experiment, explore and manifest their ideas, fuzzy notions and mental images.

One of the most difficult tasks of individual users is the externalization of tacit knowing, tacit expectations, and metacognitive feelings. Simply put, to bring your imagination alive you need encouragement, nudging, decision-making and trigger intuition. In our research we focus on the metacognitive aspects of user interaction, user experience, user engagement and tool use wherein the wheels of causality are set off through coincidence, unpredictability and unexpected events.

The hybrid design tools we author and build are based on the human intuitive capacity and sensory abilities to immerse in physical manipulation and tangible representation to enhance creativity and ideation process. Simultaneously we embed and implement computational design tools that assist and nudge the user during the process to represent the conceptual models, data mapping and transformative information.

This transformation has a consequence of exercising the full cognitive abilities and reinforces the insight in understanding and knowledge about the problem definition and solution space. Working visually and sensory is a complex process that includes spatial information, multi perception and manual dexterity.

The four pleasures; a feeling of happy satisfaction, enjoyment, entertainment and sensorial gratification. "What's your pleasure?", asked Mr. Einstein. "Push my buttons, said the machine." "With pleasure...here we go...!" cried Albert. Creativity is the residue of time wasted, design for life is to learn how to use creativity in our daily lives to fulfill our dreams and passions. Our tools dictate the nature of our work, our hands are the instruments of our mind. Often software interfaces define the boundaries of our work, but only exploration into the margins of these tools, beyond the intended use pattern can really expose these boundaries. In that sense in order for us to break out of the design paradigm embedded in software we must use it “the wrong way”. Hybrid software tools and blended spaces for design and creativity try to provide a simple, flexible and efficient workflow whilst still not limit the creative output. "Oh, thank you!" "My pleasure." (Wendrich, 2015)


Wendrich, R. E. (2021). On How to Add SALT: PLAYGORA: A Real World Case Study and Experimentation (Out-of-the-Lab). In A. Chakrabarti, R. Poovaiah, P. Bokil, & V. Kant (Eds.), Design for Tomorrow - Volume 3: Proceedings of ICoRD 2021 (Vol. 3, pp. 761-773). (Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies; Vol. 223). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-0084-5_62
Wendrich, R. E. (2021). Anti-Fragility in Design Engineering Procedures Embedded in Hybrid Multiple Realms and Blended Environments: The Physical Real of Reality. In M. Bordegoni, S. K. Gupta, & J. Ritchie (Eds.), Manufacturing in the Era of 4th Industrial Revolution A World Scientific Reference : Volume 3: Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality Applications in Advanced Manufacturing (Vol. 1, pp. 239-270). World Scientific. https://doi.org/10.1142/9789811222863_0009
Wendrich, R. E. (2020). Creative Thinking: Computational Tools Imbued with AI. 481-490. Paper presented at 16th International Design Conference, DESIGN 2020, Dubrovnik, Croatia. https://doi.org/10.1017/dsd.2020.7
Wendrich, R. E. (2019). NEUPLAYFIELD: Hybrid Design Tool by Rawshaping Technology. NEUHAUS NEULAB, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Wendrich, R. E. (2019). SURFIN' DESIGN Scientific Demo Emerging Tech: Rawshaping Techology - Hybride Ontwerpgereedschappen (HDT). Paper presented at SURF Onderwijsdagen 2019, Den Bosch, Netherlands.
Wendrich, R. E. (Accepted/In press). Connecting Computational Tools with Psychedelic Research: (hypotheses). In Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedlic Research (ICPR) 2020: OPEN Foundation & APRA
Wendrich, R. E. (Accepted/In press). Cyber-Physical Systems, Blended Tool Environments, and Playful Creativity. In J. Michopoulos, D. Rosen, C. Paredis, & J. Vance (Eds.), ASME PRESS, New York, NY, USA: Advances in Computers and Information in Engineering Research (ACIER Series (2020 ed., Vol. 2). [D-17-00049R1] American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
Wendrich, R. E. (2018). Blended spaces: Collaborative work and computer supported learning and tools. In 38th Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (Vol. 1B-2018). American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). https://doi.org/10.1115/DETC2018-85205
Wendrich, R. (2018). Touch, touch, touch, sensorial cognitive skills sensitized through tactility and tangibility. In D. Marjanovic, M. Storga, S. Skec, N. Bojcetic, & N. Pavkovic (Eds.), 15th International Design Conference, DESIGN 2018 (Vol. 5, pp. 2369-2380). (Proceedings International Design Conference (DESIGN); Vol. 2018). The Design Society. https://doi.org/10.21278/idc.2018.0136
Wendrich, R. E. (2018). Multiple Modalities, Sensoriums, Experiences in Blended Spaces with Toolness and Tools for Conceptual Design Engineering. In ASME 2018 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (Vol. Volume 1B: 38th Computers and Information in Engineering Conference) https://doi.org/10.1115/DETC2018-85204
Wendrich, R. E., Lim, T., Baalsrud Hauge, J., & Vitali, A. (2018). VES PANEL (by invitation): Advancement and Enhanced Integration of Digital Technology Systems, VR Applications, CPS-Systems and Tools for Design Engineering. ASME 2018 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE 2018, Quebec City, Canada.
Bordegoni, M., Ferrise, F. , Wendrich, R. E., & Barone, S. (2018). Virtual and mixed prototyping techniques and technologies for consumer product design within a blended learning design environment. In DS 92: Proceedings of the DESIGN 2018 15th International Design Conference (pp. 183-192). The Design Society. https://doi.org/10.21278/idc.2018.0428
Wendrich, R. E. (2018). Touch, touch, touch, sensorial cognitive skills sensitized through tactility and tangibility. Paper presented at 15th International Design Conference 2018, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Wendrich, R. E. (2018). Emergent methods, methodologies, technologies and tools for design and engineering processes. In I. Horvath, & J. P. Suarez (Eds.), Twelfth International Symposium on Tools and Methods of Competitive Engineering
Wendrich, R. E., & Kruiper, R. (2017). Robust Unconventional Interaction Design and Hybrid Tool Environments for Design and Engineering Processes. In ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference: Volume 1: 37th Computers and Information in Engineering Conference Cleveland, Ohio, USA, August 6–9, 2017 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). https://doi.org/10.1115/DETC2017-67240
Wendrich, R. E. (2017). Sensible Pathways for Sensorium-Gameness Integration and Embedment in Design Tools for Multi-Phase Iterative Creative Synthesis in Design and Engineering Processes. In ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference: Volume 1: 37th Computers and Information in Engineering Conference Cleveland, Ohio, USA, August 6–9, 2017 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). https://doi.org/10.1115/DETC2017-67246

Google Scholar Link


ON HYBRIDITY: Raw Aesthetics and Philosophy of Nothing | Ma Course IDE

Designers often design by way of using conventions they are always following the obvious, and are blinded by the familiarity! As designers we all want to create the ultimate shiny glossy design artifact that conquer the world and will make the designer famous, appreciated and wealthy. In general the design industry is about interpreting everyday conventions, we are stepping around in habitual media, make believe virtual worlds and notwithstanding became masters of digital virtuosity. In a world we sleepwalk through, designers are feeding our insatiable appetite for visual stimulation and ever greater optical illusions or simulations.

We propose a hybrid, a mere taxonomy of ‘ugliness’, by implementing Rawshaping Technology (RST) early in the conceptualization and ideation design process (the so-called FuzzyFrontEnd, however never forget in any process there will be a HairyBackEnd). This RST-framework naturally links to the common interest in ‘beauty and ugly’ in all its manifestations and formal or natural distinctions.

Our aim to fill the voids between the analogue real and virtual real by making use of tacit skills and traditional tools, an intuitive workbench and common sense provided us with a huge amount of data and information on design and engineering processing.

Synthetic computer environments, that enhance the designer’s seeing-drawing-feeling-sculpting and provide a system that extends the designer’s repertoire of physical and virtual prototypes, enhances their ability to explore them tangibly or virtually and bring them in transaction with particular design.

            “…What would really be interesting to see for people, is that beautiful things’ grow out of shit. Because nobody ever believes that! Everybody thinks that Beethoven had his string quartets completely in his head that they somehow appeared there and formed in his head. All he had to do is write them down and then they would be kind of manifest to the world. What is so interesting and what really should be a lesson to be learned, is that things come out of nothing, things evolve out of nothing. The tiniest seed in the right situation turns into the most beautiful forest, and then the most promising seed in the wrong situation, turns into nothing. This would be important for people to understand, it gives people confidence in their own lives to know that is how things work. If you walk around with the idea that there are some people who are so gifted, they have these wonderful things in their head, but you are not one of them. You are, sort of a ‘normal’ person, you could never do all that. Then you live a different kind of life, you could have another kind of life where you can say: ‘I know that things come out from nothing very much and start from unpromising beginnings. And I am an unpromising beginning…and I could start something…”

(Brian Eno, 2002)

“With the emergence of three-dimensional computational design, the industrial design process shifted from traditional analogue physical representations of ideas or artifacts to digital virtual realities” (Wendrich, 2009).

It is virtually unthinkable that we want to lose or rid the computer as a tool or instrument from our quotidian. The computer is embedded and became part of our lives, often seen as an extra guest at the dinner table in the form of information bearer, search instrument or entertainer. We don’t really notice its present anymore, we adapted to IT and IT transformed our lifestyles. We feel that without computers a lot of people would not know how to proceed or continue normally with their individual lives so much has changed that accepting immersion in virtuality became the new orthodoxy. It is foreseeable and imaginable that a bold return to analogue reality is not an option any longer this means that designers also are fully engaged in this computer-driven electronic era and are therefore not lenient to chuck their digital companions.

We argued that it is imperative that the tacit tangible has to be included in design representation while simultaneously making use of the computational power and processing speed firstly by installing adaptive vision systems, secondly by allowing intuitive touch and feel interaction in a synthesized solution space and thirdly to couple multi-layered manufacturing capabilities to this interactive tacit tangible workbench. Most important aspect of this SDE is the un-tethered control and engagement of the designer, to give the pre-dominance of processing back to the idiosyncratic skilled human designer. For videos: https://vimeo.com/search?q=rawshaping | For documents and more information: www.rawshaping.com

ON DISCOVERY | Ba-course Module 2 - IDe

Knowledge and critical mass related to design and form-giving aspects are crucial for the careful application of skills to the design engineering domain. In this course several ideation techniques, methods and tools are discussed and applied in the context of design, creative processing and the art of discovery. These discovery characteristics are fundamental in terms of putting emphasis on individual experience, individual skill-sets, singular inspiration, and individual development of one's own design qualities, visions and values.

In ideation, conceptualization and creative processing, the formation of idiosyncratic traits are of importance in order to stimulate and generate the imaginative qualities, empowerment in communication, enhance insight and understanding in the singular role in collaborative creative processes. The students are challenged to 'breakout' from their (his/her) convention(s) and comfort zone(s) to unleash their distinct intuitive and creative abilities, explore and find their stance, hone their intellectual progressions, feel their introspective and outwardness sensibilities and show their audacity. The course follows an incremental process of fast and slow thinking and learning by doing in conjunction with assignments that are specifically designed to meet the projected aims and goals of the Discovery course.

The bottom-line is; "For every idea, however wrong, there are data for which the idea will work". To Discovery is thrill, excitement and euphoria, in such Discovery is the difference between victory and defeat, between satisfaction and disappointment, between success and failure. Introspection and reflection are based on aligning the assignments with Preparation, Incubation, Intimation, Illumination and Formulation. Many ideas and/or concepts stem from unconscious or subconscious thoughts or notions, however, to design is to choose and make decisions. In this divergent, then convergent thinking, the need to generate (iterations galore) then test is fundamental to externalization and create tangible outcome.

In effect to learn and understand choice criteria (rules of choice are extremely fine and delicate), the intuitive quality, emotional sensibility and aesthetic feeling of an individual needs to be triggered, assessed and tested. By placing the focus on expressiveness (i.e. sketching, writing, iterating etc.) and utilizing it to generate, iterate, position, associate, abstract, and present content Discovery allows the novice-designer to learn about him/herself and others around him/her. Intuition in gestation is often understood as serendipity, subsequently the exploration and discovery of known and/or unknown things is both unnecessary or impossible.

Therefore, stimulating potential serendiptous events, through observation and experimentation during externalization, thereby allowing unexpected (rare) events to unfold, recognize the potential and amplify these effects are essential ingredients/components within the Discovery course.

Discovery is a primer in design engineering and early-phase design processing and contribute to other design engineering courses throughout the IDE curriculum.


Code: 201500005

TOPIC:  Blended Space [RST Research]

Ideation and design representation constitute an important proportion of any design and engineering process. Usability and interaction design (IxD) of computational tools and systems often (i.e. mostly) lack the inclusion of metacognitive, sensory and/or physio-psychological aspects. The need for embedding and inclusion of the aforementioned aspects in the design engineering process calls for new perspectives, holistic viewpoints and novel approaches towards current human machine interface (HMI) and human computer interaction (HCI).

Affiliated Study Programmes



Courses Academic Year  2021/2022


“Fixed ideas are like a cramp in the foot - the best remedy against it is to tread on it.” - Sven Kierkegaard


Ideas are hard to find but designers love to have ideas! https://vimeo.com/132317504

Having lots of ideas makes a designer look really creative and incredibly talented, which can also make them stand out within their peer group. They are often praised for being so highly creative and smart. They potentially indulge themselves in all kinds of happy thoughts about how good they are and, as a consequence, daydream about having many more ideas in the future.

Current Projects

Finished Projects


Several articles on rawshaping technology in the 'wild,' out-of-the-lab experiences and encounters with a large variety in users, experts and laymen.

In the press

News on utwente.nl


Contact Details

Visiting Address

University of Twente
Drienerlolaan 5
7522 NB Enschede
The Netherlands

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Mailing Address

University of Twente
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands

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